By Chikondi Manjawira
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has underlined the need for business community to consider investing into Liquefied Petroleum Gas at retail as one way of increasing accessibility of the commodity across the country.
MERA made the call during Fuel and Gas Regulation date the Authority had with News Editors from different Media Institutions in Malawi on Friday in Zomba.
Consumer Affairs and Public Relations Manager for MERA, Fitina Khonje said it is high time Malawians invested in Gas selling at retail for easy accessibility to end-users in their respective locations.
Khonje emphasized that there is business opportunity in Gas following the eased regulations on the same. She added that, it is MERA’s ambition to triple use of Gas in the next 3 years.
“We have eased the licensing requirements. For example, the annual retailing fee which was at MK500, 000.00 is now at MK20, 000.00 only. The minimum plot size requirements for retailing have been reduced to 5 by 5meters. With these opportunities, we believe there will be increased access to gas retail outlets or selling points. We want more outlets within the locations as is the case in other countries.
“We have noted that there is increasing consumer interest in information on Gas. This is an indicator that demand for gas will be picking up. This is the direction the country should be moving into. Gas is a smart choice; it is reliable, convenient, easy to use and very efficient. Let us all contribute towards reduced deforestation and reduce pressure on the electricity grid”, explained Khonje.
Malawi Editors Forum, Secretary General, Gracian Tukula applauded MERA for the arrangement describing it as a knowledge gap filler on energy regulation issues.
“The meeting was very significant because it helped to narrow the knowledge gap among the editors on energy regulation issues. As gatekeepers in our newsrooms, editors make decisions on what to feature and how it should feature. Such decisions need to be made based on thorough knowledge of the subject at hand. In dynamic world like ours, a workshop like this one is very helpful because it aids editors keep pace with emerging issues in the energy sector, said Tukula.”
MERA has already sent out investment information packs to potential investors and there is increasing interest. Currently Malawi has only three Gas Importers namely; Afrox, Delta Gas and Industrial Oxygen and about 40 retail points contributing to consumers covering a long distance just to refill their cylinders.